Felder and Lanford Come Near to Blows

felder_and_lanford_come_near_blowsAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Friday, June 6th, 1913

Personal Encounter in Solicitor’s Office Is Narrowly Averted by Bystanders.

What threatened to be a serious personal encounter between Colonel Thomas B. Felder and Detective Chief Newport Lanford was narrowly averted Thursday morning in Solicitor Hugh Dorsey’s office by the interferences of bystanders.

The two men who for several weeks have been hurling ugly charges at each other were facing each other at the time after the passage of a few words when they were seized and hustled away from each other.

Out of the seriousness of the near fight grew a laughable incident through the failure of the flashlight apparatus of a newspaper photographer. When the men summoned at the grand jury probe began to arrive the air was pregnant with impending trouble and the photographer held his camera in hand ready for instant action. By his side walked an assistant with a full load of powder in the pan of the flashlight instrument.

Colonel Felder had barely replied to Chief Lanford’s request that he rise and face him and the men were preparing to rush to each other when, before anyone could seize them, the photographer got into action with his camera and yelled for his assistant to touch off the flash. The trigger was pulled but the cap refused to explode and one of the best action pictures ever taken went to naught.

Warnings Received By Felder.

The affair that directly precipitated the near fight grew out of the arrival of Chief Lanford and his “good morning gentlemen” addressed to a crowd of men in the solicitor’s office. Colonel Felder had been warned by anonymous communications and by the phone call that he would be assaulted by the detective chief during the session and apparently expected it.

“You didn’t speak to me, did you?” he replied to Lanford as the latter made his remark.

“No, but if you come over here I will speak to you,” said the chief.

“You come to me, I’m sitting down,” [1 word illegible] replied the attorney.

“Want You Standing Up.”

“I want you standing up,” replied Chief Lanford as he walked over and stood in front of Felder’s chair.

As the man rose, the detective clenched his fists and drew back as though to strike him. Colonel Felder reached toward his hip pocket as though he carried a weapon there.

At this juncture, Deputy Plennie Miner grabbled with the detective chief while reporters and attaches of the solicitor’s office caught Colonel Felder.

Chief Lanford demanded that Colonel Felder be placed under arrest for carrying concealed weapons, but this was not done as no search was made of him to determine if he was really armed as had been claimed.

The men then parted and Deputy Miner was appointed to see that they kept order while in attendance on the grand jury.

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Atlanta Constitution, June 6th 1913, “Felder and Lanford Come Near to Blows,”Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)